LAFAYETTE - McNeese State's Cowboys got behind early and finding themselves having to battle back the entire night, wound up dropping a 78-56 decision to UL Lafayette here Thursday.
The loss was the fourth in seven games for the Cowboys, now 3-4 on the year, and it was also the second in a row. ULL lifted its record to 4-5.
McNeese will now take a break for semester finals, returning to action on Dec. 10 at home against Bacone College.
Jeremie Mitchell, scoring 11 points in the second half, led the Cowboys with 18 points and he also tied for game high. Patrick Richard, who fouled out of the game with 5:40 left, scored 14 points, only four of them coming in the second half, and Dontae Cannon pushed in 11.
ULL's Kadeem Coleby tied Mitchell for the game scoring lead with 18 points.
McNeese had held an early lead in the game but a five minute stretch late in the first period during which time the Cowboys couldn't hit a basket enabled ULL to overcome a six point McNeese lead and go on to a 40-33 halftime advantage.
The two teams had played within a bucket of each other for most of the first seven minutes of play. A 15-9 run between the 16:01 and the 8:17 mark gave the Cowboys a 22-16 lead. And, they were still ahead at 26-20 with 7:30 left in the period.
At that point the Cajuns scored seven unanswered points to take a 27-26 lead and they led the rest of the way. It wasn't until the 2:20 mark that McNeese was able to score again, that on a pair of free throws by Mitchell.
The Cajuns Kaymore Andrews popped in a three point shot at the buzzer as the host team took a 40-33 edge.
In that first half Richard led the Cowboys with 10 points while Mitchell scored seven points. The Cowboys connected on 10 of 27 field goals (4 of 11 from three point range) and on nine of 12 free throws while ULL hit on 56 percent of its shots (14 of 25) and nine of 15 at the line.
In the second half the Cajuns went on a 7-2 run and took a double digit lead at 47-35 with 15:52 left in the game.
Patrick scored the first four points (his only points in the second half) for McNeese in the second half and the first basket didn't come until almost three minutes had gone by the boards.
The Cowboys managed to cut the lead to nine points at several junctures but ULL outscored them 25-12 the rest of the way for the victory.
McNeese head coach Dave Simmons felt that his team lost its composure some during the scoring runs made by ULL.
"We're going to have to back to the drawing board and look at everything," he said. "We've got to learn to settle down and get back into a ball game."